Mosquitos, like all flies, go through a four stage life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Adult females are able to bite animals to obtain nutrients and lay eggs. Mosquitos are a nuisance during the late spring and summer especially near dusk where they become active in swarms seeking a meal. Mosquitos lay their eggs in stagnant water. Some breed in marshes, natural reservoirs, and accumulated rain water. This can lead to significant number of mosquitos appearing after rainfall. Mosquitos that breed in standing water can produce 300 eggs at a time and two mating mosquitos can produce thousands of mosquitos per week.
Minnesota native mosquitos carry many parasites and diseases such as West Nile Virus, Elaphantiasis, and Zika Virus, they can also carry K9 Heartworm Disease, a serious and potentially fatal heart disease in canines. In other parts of the world mosquitos also carry deadly Malaria, Dengue, and Yellow Fever, causing millions to be effected by the disease each year, there were even infestations of Asian Tiger Mosquitos carrying Yellow Fever in Minnesota in 1991, but they have been eradicated thanks to the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District in the Twin Cities and with possible help from Minnesota winters, which make it tough for eggs to survive into their reproductive years.
Bites and Treatment
Irritating mosquito bites cause immune reactions, immediate reactions can develop within a few minutes and last a few hours, delayed reactions can take a day to develop and last for up to a week. Both reactions can result in itchiness, redness, and inflammation at the site of the mosquito bite. Several anti-itch medications are available such as name topical Benadryl or Cortizone 10 creams containing the ingredient diphenhydramine.
Insect repellents including the chemical DEET applied to the skin may provide short term protection against mosquito bites. All DEET-containing mosquito repellants can actively prevent mosquito bites, with higher concentrations of the repellent such as 40% concentrated "deep woods" repellents lasting up to 240 minutes in scientific tests.
Mosquito Control Methods
The most effective way to get rid of mosquitos is to eliminate their breeding sites. This means emptying standing water containers, turning brush piles and decaying plant matter. It's best to do mosquito control treatments in the foliage of bushes or trees because mosquitos seek the underside of leaves for shade during the day. In general it is best to eliminate or agitate areas conducive to breeding such as standing water in rain barrels, children's swimming pools, or compost heaps. Disrupting breeding areas will interrupt the mosquito breeding cycle and help control the local population of mosquitos.
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